This Modern Classic Will Turn Your Head

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Contemporary Sailboat Design

Before Jay Cross, president of the New York Jets pro football franchise, became involved with sports as a business, he was an aspiring Olympic 470 sailor and International 14 designer. His passion for boats and design never waned; it was quietly simmering on the back burner while he built stadiums, worked in sports marketing, and became president of the Jets in 2000. A few years ago, a friend turned up the heat.

"He was restoring a NY 30, and I thought, 'Well, they're nice, but they're heavy because of their age and construction,'" says Cross. "I began to wonder what it would be like if we took a classic design and built it using modern materials like carbon fiber so that it would go faster than its original designer had ever imagined possible."

After researching designs, Cross decided a 30-square meter, such as those designed by Uffa Fox and Knud Reimens between Wo rld Wars I and II, would work well, and he searched for a designer.

"I wanted someone who would value the commission, be keen, and give it a lot of attention," says Cross. "When I began speaking to Marcello Botin and Shaun Carkeek, they'd only done about five or six IMS boats, but it was clear to me that they were the hot young team in Europe. I liked the work they did, and I liked the fact that they were innovative."

Botin and Carkeek not only bought into the idea, they also convinced Cross to take his design ideas one step further, and give the boat an underbody that bears more than a passing resemblance to an America's Cup Class boat. A skinny foil with a trim tab supports a torpedo-shaped T-bulb, and well aft of it is a high-aspect rudder.

When choosing a builder for what he hopes is the first in a line of production carbon-fiber classic designs, Cross turned to his close friend Peter Johnstone, who builds the Gunboat line of catamarans in south Africa.

"The builders were really good with the carbon and the wood, but we discovered that it's almost like building two boats," says Cross. "You build this whole boat out of carbon and then you get to start over and build a wooden boat."

The result is a 48-footer with impossibly long overhangs, which make it look as though it was built in the 1930s, until you get close and see the highlights of clear-coated carbon. Cross started sailing the boat in the fall of 2005, but didn't race it until this spring, when he competed in an

IRC divison in the American YC's Spring Series on Long Island Sound, carrying a 1.140 IRC rating. "The steering is great, but takes a little getting used to," says Cross. "The boat has such a long overhang on the stern that when you tack, the boat turns on a dime, but the stern seems to go careening through the water. It's a much different sensation than sailing a Melges 24 or a International 14, both of which have no stern whatsoever. The trim tab on the keel makes the boat absolutely beautiful upwind; it gets into a groove and stays there."

Cross plans to race the boat in events in the Northeast this summer, and to do some cruising with his two daughters, despite the boat's spartan interior. "As long as you don't want to stand up, it's fine down below," says Cross. "We've got four

Michael Carroll's New Waw» wnn The Melgps class at 2006 Key West Kace Week with 1,1, 2. i. 3.1.2 finishes. New Wave carried a North 3[)r main and |ib My eud photo

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Michael Carroll's New Waw» wnn The Melgps class at 2006 Key West Kace Week with 1,1, 2. i. 3.1.2 finishes. New Wave carried a North 3[)r main and |ib My eud photo

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bunks, a two-burner stove, and proper electric marine head. On deck we have a freshwater shower with hot and cold water. It's like cruising in the 1930s, where if you were wealthy and could build any boat you wanted, you would still be, in the end, roughing it. The fact is that there's not a lot of room below, but we've

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